China set to capitalise on outstanding development programme
China goes to South Africa sitting at number four in the IKF world rankings. Having only joined the top level of korfball 12 years ago, playing in the WKCs of 2007, 2011 and 2015, their current position compares favourably to several longer established korfball nations, and is a tribute to the hard work and great focus that has gone into their development. Finishing in fifth place at the 2017 World Games, and second at the 2018 IKF Asia Oceania Korfball Championships, is a mark of their progress.
Zhao Jing, known in international korfball as Jammy, is the captain of the Chinese team. A graduate of Zhengzhou University, the home of korfball in China, Jammy started playing the sport in 2011 and now works at the International Korfball Development Research Center of Zhengzhou University, so is China’s first, and so far only, professional korfball athlete.
“We aim to maintain our top five world ranking, and to qualify for the 2021 World Games. We have been assisted by Ben Crum coming to China to help us train. We also hosted the second Eurasian Korfball Competition in Zhengzhou in June,” she says.
China finished third in that tournament, which was also attended by the Netherlands, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India and Thailand. Further pre-WKC preparation for China included a joint week of training with Chinese Taipei and the Dutch U21 team.
Despite the rising success of China in world korfball, and the adoption of the sport in the education system, where students at more than 200 schools in China study korfball in physical education, and almost 60 schools have their own korfball team, Jammy says there is no complacency in the Chinese korfball community.
“Even though korfball is becoming established in our universities, when players finish learning and start working, their korfball ends. We are therefore taking korfball into middle and primary schools, so that children can understand and learn our sport as young as possible. Although some schools have started with korfball, because coaches don’t know much about training methods, we still have a long way to go,” she says.
Zhengzhou University and the International Korfball Development Research Center, under the guidance of Professor Ma Xiangcheng, is leading the way, both in China and beyond. Jammy says the center has developed rapidly in the last two years.
“Although Zhengzhou University’s involvement with korfball started in 2005, the center was not set up until April 2017. We now cover many specialisations, including teaching korfball, scientific research into korfball, competition, training high-level personnel to develop korfball and using korfball to assist social services in China. Our objectives are to promote korfball in China, and become an active home for korfball in Asia.
“We have three major focuses of work: training and competition, international communication, and academic research. At present, most of the national squad players are from Zhengzhou University, so this is the location for national team training. Before any international match, players of every age group come here for selection and preparation. Most of the schools in China that want to teach or play korfball send teachers here to study, at least twice a year for coaches and referees.
“We have more than 10 graduate athletes majoring in korfball at the center. Besides training, they carry out academic research, mainly relating to training. We also recently published China’s first korfball textbook, edited by Professor Ma,” she says.
As China’s first korfball professional, Jammy’s duties include assisting Professor Ma in the promotion of korfball, as well as organising competitions and training. She is assistant coach of Zhengzhou University, training the team each afternoon and evening. Earlier this year Jammy spent three months in the Netherlands to increase her korfball knowledge, including serving as assistant coach of the Chinese U19 team and passing the IKF Level 3 coaching course.
Zhengzhou University has provided several of the players in China’s team, while others are graduates of Southwest University and Tianjin University of Science and Technology.
“Those who have graduated are now working in primary schools, junior high schools or universities as sports teachers, or doing sports-related work. That kind of work makes it easier for us to continue participating in korfball.
“Several of our other players are Zhengzhou graduate and undergraduate students, while Zhe Heng Tang, called Tom, is also a graduate student at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, where he participates in korfball with the university club, alongside his study,” says Jammy.
#TeamCHN IKF WKC 2019
2: Jing Zhao
3: Qing Wang
4: Jingyi Yin
5: Xin Li
6: Yuran Fu
7: Xiaoxi Chen
11: Dongjie Zhang
14: Xi Wang
15: Jingyuan Sun
16: Yongbin Yang
17: Fei Xiao
19: Litian Cao
20: Qi Wang
26: Siying Wang
29: Shengsi Li
34: Shuaitan Hu
Coach: Xiangcheng Ma
Manager: Jinhong Huang
Officials: Jun Shangguan, Ben Crum, Liming Liu
#TeamCHN on social media:
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Dani Ezpeleta2019-07-18 15:04:422019-07-28 07:49:49#TheTeamFiles: China (IKF WKC 2019)